Debate is good – no one wants to be magnolia!

Photo: Ed Miles

Midwife, mother of four and now a jewellery designer – Clemmie Hooper tells us how she doesn’t let fear get in her way

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By Clemmie Hooper on

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How confident I am depends on what’s happening. If I’m just getting up and getting myself and the twins dressed to do the nursery run… actually, you do need some confidence to do that!

Every day feels different – I could be doing anything, from a shift on the labour ward to a big photoshoot to a launch party. Like any woman, I have good days and bad days, confidence-wise, but the consistent thing is that I’m always so busy I don’t really have time to dwell on it – I just have to get on and do it.

The only difference in my life to any other busy mum’s is that I have more than half a million Instagram followers and social media is the one place I do second-guess myself.

It took fearlessness to put up boundaries and decide when was right for me to give my time away

Before I post, I’ll think, “Is this is going to be a controversial discussion post? Will there be a backlash?” When you’re talking about parenting, there often is, so I have to make sure I have time to respond to comments. When you have a big following, people think they know you and sometimes that they deserve a piece of your time. It took fearlessness to put up boundaries and decide when was right for me to give my time away. We can’t always put others before ourselves.

But fear would never stop me posting something I really believe in and sometimes a reaction is good – no one wants to be magnolia!

I had a huge reaction the first time I posted a picture of myself in a bikini, two years ago and just six months after the twins were born. I’d spent the week before doing the kids’ packing, getting a wax, getting a spray tan and I’d completely forgot to buy new swimwear. I ended up packing one bikini that didn’t fit and, when I put it on, I really wasn’t happy with what I saw.

It went through my mind to find a cover-up to wear over the top, but I looked at my four daughters and realised the last thing I want is for them to see me hiding my body on the beach. What message would that send? It’s the body that gave birth to them all and I should be proud of it.

My feelings made me stop to think how many other women out there were struggling with the same emotions – the same fear of being seen as they really are, especially on holiday, when they should be relaxing the most. So, it was a really spontaneous, split-second decision – I just uploaded a picture of myself and put it out in to the world. The reaction was amazing. The story ended up in the Daily Mail and the comments on my post proved I wasn’t alone in having to be fearless about revealing my own body. So many women contacted me to say thank you.

I’ve since posted a picture in my underwear and, the second time around, I had zero fear. I just know instinctively that this is what social media needs more of.

Women want to see people who look like them, whether in our underwear or fully clothed. It helps us in so many ways, whether it’s just to normalise what real bodies look like or even just to see how something they’ve seen in the shops might look on a woman like them.

Getting such a reaction from posting in my underwear is quite amusing when I think what my underwear drawer looks like – all my pants are simple black and most of my bras are taupe. For special occasions, I’ll pull out something more special, but day to day it’s about what’s comfortable and what will make my clothes look best. And if my experience on social media is anything to go by, most women’s underwear drawers probably look the same.





Photo: Ed Miles
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